For most people, dogs are like family. The bond between the dog and its owner is built over time. When this bond is strong, obeying the state’s dog leash laws and ensuring that the animal does not attack members of the public is made easier.
Unfortunately, there are times when things do not happen this way. Sometimes, your beloved animal can aggressively attack and hurt someone. If this happens, you may be pursued for damages through the Texas premises liability lawsuit.
Fortunately, your liability can be reduced or eliminated altogether under the following circumstances:
If the victim trespassed into your property
Texas applies modified comparative negligence laws. This means that the damages awarded will be reduced based on the extent of the plaintiff’s contribution to the incident. Thus, if the attack happened while the plaintiff was unlawfully on your property, then you can argue trespass in your defense.
If the plaintiff provoked the dog
You may successfully argue provocation if the plaintiff’s actions irritated the dog resulting in an attack. Depending on the circumstances, the court might reduce your liability when the plaintiff unintentionally provokes the dog by:
- Accidentally stepping on its tail
- Petting the dog while it is eating or when it is chained up
- Spraying a repellant on the dog
The plaintiff didn’t file a claim soon enough
Every state has a statute of limitations period within which the plaintiff can bring a premises liability lawsuit against you. In Texas, the statute of limitations for premises liability claims is two years. If the plaintiff files their claim after the lapse of the statute of limitations period, then you can cite this in your defense.
Premises liability claims can be very costly. You may want to find out how you can defend yourself if you are facing a dog bite claim.